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The carbon sequestration postage stamp: help me brainstorm it

 
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Alright, I started a new thread for our art contest: Art Contest!  The Carbon Sequestration Postage Stamp
 
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This is exciting indeed.  Jesse, thanks and congratulations.
I hope we can avoid getting into a situation where very little of the funds actually going towards CO2 capture.

I'm posting an image to show what I mean, it is from http://soilcarboncoalition.org/atlasbiowork, and I reproduce it with permission.








Screen-Shot-2016-11-11-at-8.16.55-AM.png
[Thumbnail for Screen-Shot-2016-11-11-at-8.16.55-AM.png]
 
Jesse Fister
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:This is exciting indeed.  Jesse, thanks and congratulations.
I hope we can avoid getting into a situation where very little of the funds actually going towards CO2 capture.



Thank you Thekla.  I swear to do everything I can to ensure these funds are used in the best way possible.
 
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When this goes through, maybe we could start some sort of permie penpal or seed exchange using these stamps.  

Congratulations Jesse!  Well Done.  

Someone that might be able to help with the numbers is the author of The Carbon Farming Solution,  Eric Toensmeier.  
 
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I want to refer to the pyramid on the right, which is based on participatory shared intelligence.

What I would like to see happen is a few regional projects.  Ideally a group could gain access to a drainage, small or large, with notably depleted soil, and re-establish a living ecosystem with vibrant soil community, sponge-like ground, when rain events had erosion and flooding coming off of neighboring ground, this one would soak up the water than falls, and it would slowly release its water over following months.  This would make it clear how much more is going on with the question of soil carbon.

Whether this was a public park, or a forest or a farm doesn't matter in my mind so much as that the funds, the efforts, get concentrated to get one regional demonstration success after another.

Here are a couple of links, the first is abridged 4 minute excerpt of the second, the full length talk.

What it is about is how different groups of dedicated people all over the country did the same thing in their own unique way.  It has nothing to do with carbon sequestration.  Their objective was to address shortfalls in education.   I hope you have time to watch the second one.  Other cities did wildly fun things, but the point of each of them is to provide one on one tutoring for local children.  

That's sort of what I'm thinking would be a great

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/dave_eggers_makes_his_ted_prize_wish_once_upon_a_school
 
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Jesse Fister wrote:
Thank you Thekla.  I swear to do everything I can to ensure these funds are used in the best way possible.



Of course you will Jesse.  Administration will be complex,.  The complexity of the issue will make it so.
 
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Congratulations Jesse. Awesome idea.

You may be opening the doors for future projects. Suggestion:

What if the USPS had a take back system in place, where when they deliver your daily mail, they pick up your unwanted (junk) mail and already read mail that could possibly end up in the trash. Then a company that recycles paper (i.e. Cintas, I'm sure many others) could pick up the load. This would be great for the rural areas that don't have curbside recycling bins provided for them. Just need to be able to keep your outgoing mail and recyclables separate. Divided mailbox?

It would be really great if there could be something similar to the FTC and FCC's Do Not Call Registry. I think a Do Not Mail Registry would be harder to implement. I know you can individually contact businesses and request to be removed from their mailing list but that's a pain.
 
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Karen Donnachaidh wrote: Suggestion:

What if the USPS had a take back system in place, where when they deliver your daily mail, they pick up your unwanted (junk) mail and already read mail that could possibly end up in the trash. Then a company that recycles paper (i.e. Cintas, I'm sure many others) could pick up the load. This would be great for the rural areas that don't have curbside recycling bins provided for them. Just need to be able to keep your outgoing mail and recyclables separate. Divided mailbox?

It would be really great if there could be something similar to the FTC and FCC's Do Not Call Registry. I think a Do Not Mail Registry would be harder to implement. I know you can individually contact businesses and request to be removed from their mailing list but that's a pain.



I am good friends with our local postmistress and the staff at the post office. They fret up front about the decrease in junk mail, as that used to be the big cash cow for the USPS. They used to be able to sell merchandise, and that was actually a popular thing, even in this small place, and a lot of revenue was generated for the service that way. Then it was decided to discontinue the merchandise. They went into the Priority Mail which is basically trackable freight, provided packaging (people taking the 'free' supplies, turning the boxes inside out and using them for cheaper rates is why now all the boxes are printed inside with 'Priority Mail'. If it has Priority Mail on it in any form it MUST go Priority Mail rates) to standardize packages which makes handling easier and have the 'if it fits it ships' flat rates (I have gotten near the 70# domestic weight limit for the large box, that takes doing--think brake rotors). Don't mention about you went e-catalog or they get upset. I do send a lot of PM and when I do, I say I'm just trying to keep them in business (by using them instead of FedEx or UPS) and usually get thanked. The Post Office is bleeding, hence restricted hours, no more curbside in a lot of places, (here you get a free post box if you live here and must fetch your own. They still service the Rural Routes, but not in town). Their plus here is that they handle light freight without the difficulty of trying to get ahold of the other shipping companies for outbound (no real place in town to ship out on FedEx or UPS)

I applaud the stamp bit and I will buy them for the few letters I send anymore. I went e-bill to save paper and resources, not to mention money and time.

The issue with the recycling is similar to something called Wecycle which ran in Denver for awhile. It went broke. It was a good venture, they were helping recycle paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, aluminum and steel (cans), but. The cost outweighed the effort. This was in a major urban metro and they couldn't sustain it. Out here where I live now, we are literally the end of everywhere. To haul that stuff, process it, and ship it to recycle all costs. It needs space, manpower, and resources. I strive instead to locally (self) reduce the amount of my trash stream as there is no way it could remain viable in a small area. I tried for awhile in Colorado Springs (south of Denver) with the recycling offered by my trash company. It cost me $10 more a month, I had to buy the totebins that were color coded to put my sorted trash in, and one day I watched them come along with a truck and dump all three bins into the same truck. I asked the driver and he said they were just hauling it away as there was nobody to do the next step. So all I was doing was rinsing, sorting and paying for an extra truck run and they were sending it to the same landfill (Wecycle had gone under by then). But they didn't say anything.

Contacting individual places to get off a list is a PITA but I diligently do so, most of the time it is either online or a phone call to politely ask, and it usually 'sticks'. I see maybe four pieces a month now.
http://www.directmail.com/mail_preference/ go to this place, sign up, and there are a few more places listed on the right. Go to those and sign up. It will drop your junk mail a lot.

I'm cheering Jesse and the progress on the stamp, and as I said, I will buy them if they show up. However, a USPS driven recycle isn't probably going to be feasible. The nearest city of 50k or more is over two hours from here so resources to recycle will run far far more than it is worth. Local personal recycle looks to be the answer. Sorry for a semi-off topic ramble but that is how it seems.

I use old cardboard for making firestarters (coil some in an old tuna tin and pour a little paraffin in there, light and stick under your traditional wood setup in fireplace), biodegradable mulch that keeps weeds down (brown corrugated), or if it is soy based ink you can rip up and put in water in a pail, then press out and form your own logs (on another thread here in Permies). I kept gerbils for awhile and used them as vital paper shredders, they would happily rip up my old mail (take out the windows in the envelopes) into gerbil-confetti. Back to topic, I would purchase these stamps, but some of the side stuff suggested might not be viable.....
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Deb Rebel wrote: They fret up front about the decrease in junk mail, as that used to be the big cash cow for the USPS.



I believe that "cash cow" has lined a lot of pockets at the expense of our trees (and clean air), which at least some of the USPS is now viewing as a natural resource worth replenishing.

Would I rather see a beautiful growing tree or a pile of junk mail next to a group of smiling postal workers? Sorry, I know jobs are scarce in many realms but what will our regrets be tomorrow?
 
Deb Rebel
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Karen Donnachaidh wrote:

Deb Rebel wrote: They fret up front about the decrease in junk mail, as that used to be the big cash cow for the USPS.



I believe that "cash cow" has lined a lot of pockets at the expense of our trees (and clean air), which at least some of the USPS is now viewing as a natural resource worth replenishing.

Would I rather see a beautiful growing tree or a pile of junk mail next to a group of smiling postal workers? Sorry, I know jobs are scarce in many realms but what will our regrets be tomorrow?



I do my best to reduce the junk mail I get, catalogs I won't look at, etc. I can respect though, the pension plan payments were a recent killer for the USPS, at least let them bring back the merchandise. That was optional point of sale and did bring in a lot that would help balance their books without Junk Mail. Anyways, the main issue is the carbon stamp to raise awareness, and cutting the junk mail that none of us want to deal with. I prefer to pay my bills online (and get my statements that way), plus signing up for the direct mail reduction lists to get me off lists, since there is no real recycling where I am at doing SELF-recycling (repurpose that stuff) and reducing my own waste stream plus using less energy by other means. That link again: http://www.directmail.com/mail_preference/

I applaud Jesse for getting as far with the awareness carbon stamp and hope it goes all the way. I will buy them if I need to mail something.
 
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I applaud Jesse's attempts here. I will back such a project myself. You, I am sure, are in our "army" and I know you do your part. How do we make recycling more available in rural areas and less populated towns? I think that is where my issues are. That and knowing that the generation of waste in some businesses equals steady cash flow. That's sad.
 
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Certainly easy for me to get off course.( Passionate.)
We're here to support you, Jesse. Sorry for the high jack.
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Thekla McDaniels
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Jesse, was it decided at your meeting how much the stamp is going to cost, and is there a time line for :

stamp gets printed
stamp goes on sale

funds are allocated to_________

I am still in awe that you were able to get this project so far, in such a short time.
 
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Land a truckload of permie apples on this guy, will ya!  Astounding!  Great Work Jesse!
 
Jesse Fister
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:Jesse, was it decided at your meeting how much the stamp is going to cost, and is there a time line for :

stamp gets printed
stamp goes on sale

funds are allocated to_________

I am still in awe that you were able to get this project so far, in such a short time.



These are questions that I left up for further inquiry.  My estimate was $0.03-0.04 additional surcharge to offset a single letter.  That's a very rough guess based on the $0.50 surcharge used to offset the paper use of Bill Mollison's Permaculture: A Designer's Manual.  Other semi-postals are currently $0.13 more.  Of course, the higher the surcharge, the more carbon we offset.

I want these funds to support carbon farming: keyline systems, intensive rotational grazing, prairie restoration and tree planting.  We may need to settle for tree planting depending on what sort of third party we can find to disperse these trust funds.  I contacted the Arbor Day Foundation, but I appreciate any leads or ideas on this.

We're still a ways out on the project.  The next step is to get senator backing.  After that I'm not sure right now.
 
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OK, thanks.

Seems like the next big step is the third party that administers the funds.  That's hugely important!!!  I'm going to start thinking really hard about it!  
 
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I have been thinking about possible administrators of the fund.  Would SARE be appropriate?  That would get it into the realm of soils and farming.  Another thought would be to see if Elaine Ingham, or any of the other successful farmers, Gabe Brown, Mark Shepard are the two I know of, have any ideas or know of any possible organizations.

I admit I have a strong bias about getting this spread into soils and  agriculture.  I think the country is full of farm ground, and only a little of it is being managed for increased carbon sequestration.  I think there is a lot of potential there because as farmers come to understand their costs of production go down, and they may have at least one additional product to sell, they will migrate to those methods, "live roots in the soil, cover crops, reduced or greatly reduced tillage or none at all", not to mention that once they stop tilling and fertilizing, there is a huge reduction on the dependence of fossil fuel.  And there are so MANY millions of acres of farm ground that is going to continue to be farmed.

I don't want to take away from Jesse's accomplishment of getting the stamp idea accepted, but I think this phase of answering the questiom of whom to administer the funds, and for what is every bit as important.  

I hope we can get brainstorming on that as well.
 
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I just sent emails to Gabe Brown and to Mark Shepard, asking if they had any ideas.  I'll post if and when I hear from them.
 
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:I don't want to take away from Jesse's accomplishment of getting the stamp idea accepted, but I think this phase of answering the questiom of whom to administer the funds, and for what is every bit as important.  



You're not taking away from it at all, and I agree that this is the next important step!
 
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yay, YAY, YAY
I just sent you and Peter Donovan of Soil Carbon Challenge an email.  Let me know if you don't get it.
 
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Jesse Fister wrote:  The next step is to get senator backing.  



What does this mean?  Is this something we should contact our senators about? Or will it happen by other means?

I can find the link for how to reach your senator and post it on this thread if that's what gets it through the senate.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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They even mentioned looking into sustainability positions for me at headquarters in Washington D.C.  Wow!

 Wow indeed.  Somehow I jumped past your remark when reading your previous post, Jesse.  Congrats.  Are you seriously considering this?  If you are not tied down, and are interested in it, it might be the best way to make the greatest impact with the least effort.  I mean now that a serious permie minded guy actually has the ear of the dragon, and might be able to get it to fly in a certain direction, it's a pretty huge deal!  
 
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I got woke up by a really interesting dream.  I wont go into details but it was both sad and inspiring and the latter made me think of a dozen or so things including this thread, so here I am in the middle of the night with a second post here.  

As far as who to administer the funds, I'm not sure which is best.  I went to the Arbor day website and checked it out and I really like their approach.  It is local to the U.S., from what I could make out, and that might have a certain appeal to the Postal Service, and bureaucrats.  I might be wrong about it being only local to the U.S., please correct me if I'm wrong, but if it is then the impact will not easily spread to where it is perhaps even more desperately needed, like in Rural Africa or Asia, or South America.

I also checked out the Treesisters web site and was really inspired to change my gender! -kidding.  but only a bit.   Anyway, this is an amazing project with a more global outreach, and larger potential impact.  A problem I see with it in association with USPS is the same as that of the previously mentioned connecting to Standing Rock, which is that the powers that be might not dig connecting itself to Treesisters feminism/Goddess worship/or other channels of the creative potential that are being focused on on this website.  I wish that was not the case, but I can not help but think that the bias of the corporation would veto it.

Is there something out there that has the potential to expand exponentially globally like Treesisters?-- I don't know.

That said, when I consider the impact of so many million people moving from rural areas to the city in hopes of work/earning a living, when the lands where they came from are desperately needing them to go and do work on it (permaculture), it wrecks my brain.  This is part of the dream that woke me up.  Anyway, if we think that all of those people who move to the city completely change not only how they potentially earn a living (largely factory oriented or providing services to more wealthy people/ instead of providing directly for the people they live with), but more importantly they change their desires of the things that they aspire to.  Instead of the dreams of sustaining a village/grandchildren into the future, somehow their own very limited funds get channeled towards dreams of personal vehicles, television, and even potentially air conditioning (the sadly North American/Western dream).

So the dream that I had inspired me to think of a few things, a sort of ten minute brainstorm that made me get out of bed and come to the computer.  One part of it was Toby Hemenway who wrote about and spoke about the native/non native plant debate, and how, specifically, it is more important to focus on intensive regenerative food production than planting wild non-food producing plants (which is what I think about when people say they are going to plant trees to offset carbon), since the amount of land that is devoted to poor agricultural practices-and the clearing of more trees to do so-is instantly decreased, thus saving way more non food native plants.  Not that growing non natives might also be a key to developing sustainable agriculture, as is being done in the next thought:  

The other project that I need to mention is FMNR.  Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration.  While it is not totally global, the impact that it has had in Niger-and is spreading to other African countries-is MASSIVE.  Here's a link to FMNR  The reason this project is so amazing is not only does it get trees happening, it also get's agriculture happening and produces massive benefits to local climates, while at the same time it decreases deforestation and it's loss of biomass and shade due to ongoing intensive firewood gathering for cooking fuel.  Because the people do not have to travel to gather firewood, they have more time to tend crops (under the trees) and to be villagers again, which builds community.  

How about connecting there?
 
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Here's a significant quote about FMNR.

Over a 20 year period, this new approach spread largely from farmer to farmer, and today five million hectares of farmland have been re-vegetated. This significant achievement occurred in one of the world’s poorest countries with little investment in the forestry sector by either the government or NGOs. FMNR rapidly moved from being a “project” to becoming a “movement”.

 
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:

Jesse Fister wrote:  The next step is to get senator backing.  



What does this mean?  Is this something we should contact our senators about? Or will it happen by other means?

I can find the link for how to reach your senator and post it on this thread if that's what gets it through the senate.



USPS already has ties to senators.  We have to work with congress a lot, so there's actually a person whose job it is to deal between the senate and USPS.  They are going to set this up for me.
 
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:The other project that I need to mention is FMNR.  Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration.  While it is not totally global, the impact that it has had in Niger-and is spreading to other African countries-is MASSIVE.  Here's a link to FMNR  The reason this project is so amazing is not only does it get trees happening, it also get's agriculture happening and produces massive benefits to local climates, while at the same time it decreases deforestation and it's loss of biomass and shade due to ongoing intensive firewood gathering for cooking fuel.  Because the people do not have to travel to gather firewood, they have more time to tend crops (under the trees) and to be villagers again, which builds community.  

How about connecting there?



I think you're right about Treesisters.  USPS will probably avoid any political/religious entanglements.

Does FMNR do carbon farming?  If not, then it won't work for this project, whether it's a good thing to do or not.  

My concern with Arbor day is that much of the funds might go towards advertising and business costs?  Ideally I'd almost wish to see a new third party pop up with low overhead that is highly effective at using funds for carbon sequestration.  What do you think?

Thanks for your input Robert.

 
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:

They even mentioned looking into sustainability positions for me at headquarters in Washington D.C.  Wow!

 Wow indeed.  Somehow I jumped past your remark when reading your previous post, Jesse.  Congrats.  Are you seriously considering this?  If you are not tied down, and are interested in it, it might be the best way to make the greatest impact with the least effort.  I mean now that a serious permie minded guy actually has the ear of the dragon, and might be able to get it to fly in a certain direction, it's a pretty huge deal!  



I suppose I will have to consider this.  My wife and I are happy here.  This summer we bought six acres and I've already begun permaculture design on it.  That said, it would be a sad, difficult decision for us to go to "the big shitty" to work for the greater good.
 
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If you are looking at "Carbon Farming" as a way to offset carbon emissions or carbon use in paper via some calculated amount for credits, then I do not think that FMNR is a likely fit.  However, if you are looking to get the most vegetation/soil building carbon sequestration out of the money sent, there is no better program that I know of as it is so grass roots to the common poor people, and requires such little external inputs (inexpensive), or tools (a pruning knife) and it is already massive, and could be more so, if there were more funds to spread it in other areas.  


the next quote is from FMNR's page about promoting it's spread

FMNR in Niger spread across 5 million hectares with no manuals and minimal NGO influence. Imagine the result that could happen in countries with clear manuals and support.

 
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Does FMNR do carbon farming?

 I did find that FMNR does do carbon farming, but it's a page within a page, and only mentioned off hand in the last bullet point on the page  There must be more info.  I will try to search it.
 
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Jesse, if you're still looking for carbon farming, or places that plant trees or sequester carbon, I think I might have some further links for you. I thought these rabbit trails might lead to something more national, but maybe someone with better Google fu than me could find that, or perhaps these orgs might have information along those lines.

The Northwest Natural Resource Group is a Washington State based organization that educates and supports sustainable forestry practices in WA and OR. The NNRG administers Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for Washington and Oregon AND is working with local grant money's for woodland owners to tap into carbon markets such as what your stamp would support. Here are the links, that unfortunately stayed local:
NNRG - Stewardship Assistance & Carbon Information for Family Forest Owners
--supporting agency - USDA NRCS Oregon - Unlocking Carbon Markets for NIPF Landowners in the Pacific Northwest
--supporting agency - Pinchot Institute for Conservation - Unlocking Carbon Markets for Family Forest Owners in the PNW
NNRG - Get FSC Certified

Unfortunately, I could not find any evidence of FSC in Montana, or other carbon programs in Montana. Of course, this needs to be on a national level...though I wonder if the NNRG in WA might have someone who could help. I think I'm too distracted by other things to really be much help in looking up this stuff, sorry!
 
Jesse Fister
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This just in: Western Area District liked the idea and we are moving forward!

Thank you everyone for helping out.  These suggestions are very helpful and there is still work to do.
 
Jesse Fister
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Today I had the opportunity to speak with Peter Donovan of the Soil Carbon Challenge and Soil Carbon Coalition.

He said:

“I hadn't thought of it recently, but our Soil Carbon Coalition could use even a small, increasing amount as prize money for the Soil Carbon Challenge. This would also help raise visibility (the media loves prizes), and we could disburse ALL OF IT to the land manager(s) who have measurably increased soil carbon in a given geography, in a given time frame. We've got some measurement and data infrastructure to both show and tell, and we're a 501c3 nonprofit.

Prize money, even a small amount, would have much greater leverage on awareness and visibility than program funding. A neat thing about soil carbon is that it's not just about climate, it's about water, which is always the #1 issue.”


Peter and I had a chance to speak at some length and he was very helpful and informative.  He quickly convinced me of his excellent understanding of carbon issues.

I asked the District Manager if we could include him on "the team," considering he might be be the best “resident expert” for us to consult in all of this.  He has agreed to help and is interested in what we are doing.

Peter and I discussed how a trust fund group might be arranged for the dispersal of these funds.  He also had some good ideas on this, which could involve organizing a committee formed of volunteers representing both the post office and various soil carbon initiatives, including some other appropriate sectors like the Department of Agriculture, etc.  Then grants could be submitted for by parties interested in using these funds for carbon offset work.

Now I am searching for someone with experience in organizing such grant dispersal programs who could help us arrange to incorporate such a third-party group.  The DM has set out to help me on this.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Jesse, it is wonderful to see this project moving forward.  Thank you so much for your efforts.

Would the "someone with experience in organizing such grant dispersal programs who could help us arrange to incorporate such a third-party group"  need to live in a particular geographic area?
 
Jesse Fister
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:Jesse, it is wonderful to see this project moving forward.  Thank you so much for your efforts.

Would the "someone with experience in organizing such grant dispersal programs who could help us arrange to incorporate such a third-party group"  need to live in a particular geographic area?



No, I think we're looking at setting this up at the national level, though regional groups or even individuals could apply.  We may even want to consider international work, though the national level is probably the target boundary condition.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Thanks, Jesse, but I mean, would they work from home, or have to physically be in a particular place?

Do you have any idea many hours a week might this take the candidate?

Also, is this a volunteer, or would it be a paid position?

I know a woman who might have the skills to manage it but I think these are the questions she will need to have answered.

I'm going to send her a link to this thread so she can see the whole development so far.
 
Jesse Fister
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Erica Wisner wrote:I wonder if I'm seeing the logo you have in mind?
I am seeing a double silhouette that could be printed in one ink color (blue or blue-green would look great on unbleached paperboard and manila).  
A blue rondel of sky with the branches in 'neutral' (whatever color it's printed on), and a blue spread of roots below with the background neutral.  



Erica, I hope you will finish this design and submit it on the Art Contest! page.
 
Get out of my mind! Look! A tiny ad!
5 Ways to Transform Your Garden into a Low Water Garden
https://permies.com/t/97045/Reduce-garden-watering
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